ALTON, Va.- Automatic Racing had a disappointing day at Virginia International Raceway when their BMW M3 suffered a clutch failure just one hour into the Grand-Am Cup's 3 Hours of VIR. Jep Thornton, who shares the BMW with David Russell, was...
ALTON, Va.- Automatic Racing had a disappointing day at Virginia International Raceway when their BMW M3 suffered a clutch failure just one hour into the Grand-Am Cup's 3 Hours of VIR. Jep Thornton, who shares the BMW with David Russell, was fourth in the Grand Sports II (GSII) class at the time.
Thornton started the race from fifth on the GSII grid. This season, he has started a tradition of singing a different song over the radio on the warm-up lap of each race. Thornton kicked off the 3 Hours of VIR with Nelly 's "Hot in Here."
Thornton got a good start and was third after the first lap before settling into fourth. He began to have some problems with the clutch and was fighting to maintain his quick lap times when he was passed by Forest Barber in the Bell Motorsports BMW.
Thornton stayed close behind Barber as they each gained another position and they began to battle for third in GSII. Just one hour into the race, however, Thornton was forced to shut down the car and pull off the track because of a clutch failure.
The car was stranded in turn 14, and Automatic Racing had to wait for a full-course caution before the car could be towed back to the pits. Automatic Racing retired from the race after deciding that they would not be able to repair the car in time to rejoin the race.
"We're really disappointed," commented Thornton. "Our day was going so well and we expected to have a strong finish. But this is a part of racing, and we'll set our sights on the season finale at Daytona and start preparing for that."
More information about Automatic Racing, including pictures from their weekend at Virginia International Raceway and audio clips from Thornton and Russell, can be found on the team's website at www.AutomaticRacing.com.
Automatic Racing is sponsored by Automatic Commercial Aircraft, LandAir, BBS, Engine Music Studios, Redline Oil and Moton Shocks.